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Thread: China Space Station

  1. #451
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    Scott Manley has a nice review of the Chinese space station.
    Yesterday China's Long March 5 carried the first module of their space station into orbit, a 20 ton module derived from the Russian DOS designs, which will be the core of a much larger 60 ton orbital facility able to host astronauts for months at a time.
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  2. #452
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    So of course the booster is still due to deorbit at some random spot in the world. I found this Ars Technica raised a concerning point:

    World waits to see where a Chinese booster will come down

    Most countries have settled on a controlled de-orbit, in which control is maintained over the booster and enough fuel is retained to allow decisions to be made about when the hardware re-enters the atmosphere. That allows any material that survives re-entry to land harmlessly in the ocean. China has apparently not chosen this path.
    To add to this even if this booster comes down harmelesssly there's ten more planned to complete the station, all with the same lack of proper control systems. Frankly in 2021 this just seems.

  3. #453
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    "China's space station designers extend its in-orbit life"

    http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/202..._139930876.htm

    China sent the core module of its space station into a planned orbit on April 29. The space station has a designed lifespan of ten years, but designers believe it could last more than 15 years with appropriate maintenance and repairs.

    The space station will face various threats and challenges in the cosmos, such as atomic oxygen, ultraviolet radiation, vacuums, temperature changes, space debris, and microgravity.

    These may cause the material performance to decline or induce failures, thus shortening the service life of products and equipment such as extravehicular cables, surface coatings, and optical lenses.

    According to Zhou Jianping, chief designer of China's manned space program, maintainability is one of the space station's advantages compared with its predecessors. Maintenance and repairs can ensure the technological upgrade and long-term and reliable operation of the space station.
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  4. #454
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    "EU SST monitors upcoming re-entry of space object CZ-5B R/B"

    https://www.eusst.eu/newsroom/eu-sst...eentry-cz5brb/

    EU Space Surveillance and Tracking (EU SST) is monitoring the re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere of large space object CZ-5B R/B (2021-035B), the core stage of the rocket that launched Tianhe – the first module of the Chinese large modular space station – on 29 April 2021. The EU SST network of sensors is observing the object closely, and its radars have narrowed down its re-entry window to 8-9 May.
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  5. #455
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    Quote Originally Posted by selvaarchi View Post
    "EU SST monitors upcoming re-entry of space object CZ-5B R/B"

    https://www.eusst.eu/newsroom/eu-sst...eentry-cz5brb/
    Well its good someone is tracking it as China seems to have shrugged off responsibility.

  6. #456
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    Quote Originally Posted by Garrison View Post
    Well its good someone is tracking it as China seems to have shrugged off responsibility.
    Yup.
    From this article:

    https://spaceflightnow.com/2021/05/0...-this-weekend/

    Wang Wenbin, a spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, said in a press conference Friday that it is “common practice” for upper stages of rockets to burn up while re-entering the atmosphere. He later incorrectly referred to the Long March 5B rocket body as an upper stage, and said that “most of its parts will burn up upon re-entry, making the likelihood of damage to aviation or ground facilities and activities extremely low.”
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  7. #457
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    Quote Originally Posted by Extravoice View Post
    Lovely, ignoring the fact that those upper stages are in a controlled re-entry, and of course a great many Chinese first stages far from burning up just wind up crashing into the Chinese countryside with the remnants of toxic hypergolic fuels still in them. So I guess it makes sense, if they aren't worried about dropping debris on their own country, why would they worry about dropping it on anyone else?

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    Well it appears that this time the Long March 5 dumped whatever debris survived re-entry landed in the ocean:

    Chinese rocket debris crashes into Indian Ocean - state media

    Of course that still leave some ten more of these obsolescent rockets to be launched to assemble the Chinese space station. For the sake of the Taikonauts one can only hope that the modules are of a higher standard than the launch vehicles.

  9. #459
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    Quote Originally Posted by Garrison View Post
    Well it appears that this time the Long March 5 dumped whatever debris survived re-entry landed in the ocean:

    Chinese rocket debris crashes into Indian Ocean - state media

    Of course that still leave some ten more of these obsolescent rockets to be launched to assemble the Chinese space station. For the sake of the Taikonauts one can only hope that the modules are of a higher standard than the launch vehicles.
    A bit close to the Maldives though.
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  10. #460
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    Quote Originally Posted by Garrison View Post
    Well it appears that this time the Long March 5 dumped whatever debris survived re-entry landed in the ocean:

    Chinese rocket debris crashes into Indian Ocean - state media

    Of course that still leave some ten more of these obsolescent rockets to be launched to assemble the Chinese space station. For the sake of the Taikonauts one can only hope that the modules are of a higher standard than the launch vehicles.
    Only 2 of the launches will be LM5.
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  11. #461
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    Quote Originally Posted by selvaarchi View Post
    Only 2 of the launches will be LM5.
    Well that's something, assuming these other rockets are going to be landing controllably in the ocean? Or are we talking about dumping more rockets with with toxic fuel in the Chinese countryside?

  12. #462
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    Even Scott Manley has jumped on the "It'd Be Really Nice if China Would Control Its Rockets" bandwagon.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Garrison View Post
    Well that's something, assuming these other rockets are going to be landing controllably in the ocean? Or are we talking about dumping more rockets with with toxic fuel in the Chinese countryside?
    Has NASA/SpaceX got any experience of parts their rockets landing on other countries or oceans?
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  14. #464
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    Quote Originally Posted by selvaarchi View Post
    Has NASA/SpaceX got any experience of parts their rockets landing on other countries or oceans?
    The last time that happened for NASA was Skylab back in the 1970's and of course SpaceX has had rockets malfunction but not dropped debris on other countries, outside of their launching sites. Of course the point is its 2021 and other parties design their rockets to deposit boosters safely, or of course recover them altogether. China has deliberately chosen not to to include this capability, either because of expense or lack of technical ability. And I did find the flight schedule for the space station:

    CSS launch sched.JPG

    So they are still using the toxic Long March 2F for manned flights, guess the Long march 7 was too expensive/complicated to man rate.

  15. #465
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    Quote Originally Posted by selvaarchi View Post
    Has NASA/SpaceX got any experience of parts their rockets landing on other countries or oceans?
    Just Skylab, and which prompted NASA to improve their de-orbit procedures and technology. Live and learn, so to speak. NASA has always discarded spent stages in the Atlantic or Indian Oceans (e.g. external shuttle tanks) but in a controlled manner. The issue with China space and military agencies is that they apparently just don't care. If China were to enable controlled reentry into an ocean then no one would say a word. It's a problem for the Russians too since their rocket components also end up on land, but at least they know it in advance and have made some plans and have done a fair job of controlling the reentry of the Slayuts and MIR. (I've seen videos that show Russian villagers salvaging rocket components.)

  16. #466
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    Quote Originally Posted by selvaarchi View Post
    Has NASA/SpaceX got any experience of parts their rockets landing on other countries or oceans?
    Sure, but they don’t have pieces fall on other countries due to willful neglect.

    Even in the most infamous US event of Skylab, the plan was to have the Shuttle boost it or redirect it to an uninhabited part of the ocean. While you could argue that they should have tried harder, letting it fall wherever was not the original plan.
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  17. #467
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    Quote Originally Posted by Extravoice View Post
    Even in the most infamous US event of Skylab, the plan was to have the Shuttle boost it or redirect it to an uninhabited part of the ocean. While you could argue that they should have tried harder, letting it fall wherever was not the original plan.
    And that boiled down to two issues: Unexpected solar activity heated (and expanded) the outer atmosphere so it caused a faster orbital decay than expected and Shuttle development took longer than expected. I was pretty sad when Skylab came down, I was hoping it would get use after the Shuttle started flying.
    Last edited by Van Rijn; 2021-May-09 at 07:28 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Garrison View Post
    The last time that happened for NASA was Skylab back in the 1970's and of course SpaceX has had rockets malfunction but not dropped debris on other countries, outside of their launching sites. Of course the point is its 2021 and other parties design their rockets to deposit boosters safely, or of course recover them altogether. China has deliberately chosen not to to include this capability, either because of expense or lack of technical ability. And I did find the flight schedule for the space station:

    CSS launch sched.JPG

    So they are still using the toxic Long March 2F for manned flights, guess the Long march 7 was too expensive/complicated to man rate.
    Do you call this report from the 70's -

    "SpaceX Rocket Parts Rain Down over Indonesia"

    https://spaceflight101.com/falcon-9-...ver-indonesia/

    Large rocket parts rained down over a pair of small Indonesian islands on Monday when the second stage of a Falcon 9 rocket launched earlier this year fell from orbit and, at least to some extent, survived its fiery re-entry over the island of Java.

    At least two sizeable tanks were reported falling from the sky around 10 Western Indonesian Time in the Sumenep Regency on the eastern end of Madura Island located north-east of Java. The tanks landed on the small islands of Giliraja and Giligenting, causing damage to an animal enclosure but luckily leaving the animals and all locals in the area unharmed.

    The timing and location of the debris sighting is consistent with the uncontrolled re-entry of the second stage of a Falcon 9 rocket launched in August of this year.
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    "Do you call this report from the 70's"

    This suggests a report from the 1970s. ?

    I'm not convinced that probably poorly translated comments from a gubbermint minion and a booster is proof that China does not care. So I applaud your efforts to defend.

    But I shamefully giggle at the poetic justice of it all.

    Cheers

  20. #470
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    Quote Originally Posted by selvaarchi View Post
    Do you call this report from the 70's -

    "SpaceX Rocket Parts Rain Down over Indonesia"

    https://spaceflight101.com/falcon-9-...ver-indonesia/
    That’s from 2016. I’m not sure if there was a problem then or if SpaceX has since changed operational procedures, but my understanding is that they now regularly fire engines to drop the second stage out of orbit for a controlled reentry.

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    Just about the uncontrolled entry, I would also say that I don't think that "they did it so we can do it too" is something that we should really accept. If SpaceX does it then we should criticize them too and ask that they change the procedures to prevent uncontrolled reentries. I think the goal should be to promote safety as much as possible and I also think the standards should be applied equally. And I think that in order of responsibility/irresponsibility, the idea would be:

    -Best practice: no uncontrolled reentry
    -Second best: plan for controlled reentry, but something goes wrong (this means safety should be improved)
    -Worst: no plan for controlled reentry
    As above, so below

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    Quote Originally Posted by 7cscb View Post
    "Do you call this report from the 70's"

    This suggests a report from the 1970s. ?

    I'm not convinced that probably poorly translated comments from a gubbermint minion and a booster is proof that China does not care. So I applaud your efforts to defend.

    But I shamefully giggle at the poetic justice of it all.

    Cheers
    Not defending China. When they were developing LM5 landing of their rockets was not the top criteria. It is now but do not know if they can do anything for the next few flights.
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  23. #473
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    Quote Originally Posted by selvaarchi View Post
    Not defending China. When they were developing LM5 landing of their rockets was not the top criteria. It is now but do not know if they can do anything for the next few flights.
    Well it doesn't seem to have been a middle or even near the bottom criteria. They decided they were fine with these rockets landing, wherever, probably either because of cost or they lacked the technical capability to do so. That in no way makes it less reprehensible to be flying such a vehicle in 2021. It seems China is more interested in big headline prestige programs than the nuts and bolts of making their rockets safer and more cost effective.

  24. #474
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    Quote Originally Posted by 7cscb View Post
    "Do you call this report from the 70's"

    This suggests a report from the 1970s. ?

    I'm not convinced that probably poorly translated comments from a gubbermint minion and a booster is proof that China does not care. So I applaud your efforts to defend.

    But I shamefully giggle at the poetic justice of it all.

    Cheers
    7cscb

    Do not accuse another member of CQ of being a "gubbermint minion". If you have corrections to what someone else posts, than politely post the corrections, without the ad hominem attacks.
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  25. #475
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    Hello Swift,

    I could not find it just now but somebody somewhere has posted some inculpating comment from a Chinese official. I was only stating that this person, that is the Chinese official, was probably just a minion and also probably the translation of the comments was meant to fan the flames of anti-Chinese sentiment.

    There was zero intent to attack any member here.

    Cheers,

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    Quote Originally Posted by Garrison View Post
    Well it doesn't seem to have been a middle or even near the bottom criteria. They decided they were fine with these rockets landing, wherever, probably either because of cost or they lacked the technical capability to do so.
    I have no doubt that they have the technical capability. Basically you fire rockets against the orbit so it drops down a bit and hits more atmosphere. But the issue might be that extra fuel and hardware would reduce the payload capacity more than they wanted.

    In fairness, it is usually going to come down in the ocean or on minimally populated land, but it is a large and relatively high mass stage, so if it did come down on a city it could be bad. Essentially, it is rolling the dice. But they had to have thought about it and no doubt planned to some extent how they would handle it if a crash caused an international incident.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 7cscb View Post
    Hello Swift,

    I could not find it just now but somebody somewhere has posted some inculpating comment from a Chinese official. I was only stating that this person, that is the Chinese official, was probably just a minion and also probably the translation of the comments was meant to fan the flames of anti-Chinese sentiment.

    There was zero intent to attack any member here.

    Cheers,
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  28. #478
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    Quote Originally Posted by Van Rijn View Post
    I have no doubt that they have the technical capability. Basically you fire rockets against the orbit so it drops down a bit and hits more atmosphere. But the issue might be that extra fuel and hardware would reduce the payload capacity more than they wanted.
    I suspect you are right about the reasons for not building the capacity into the LM-5.

    In fairness, it is usually going to come down in the ocean or on minimally populated land, but it is a large and relatively high mass stage, so if it did come down on a city it could be bad. Essentially, it is rolling the dice. But they had to have thought about it and no doubt planned to some extent how they would handle it if a crash caused an international incident.
    Well not quite an international incident but Bill Nelson is far from happy about it:

    NASA chief criticizes China for uncontrolled rocket re-entry

    NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said Saturday that China is failing to meet “responsible standards” on space debris after a massive Long March rocket stage fell back to Earth over the Indian Ocean in an uncontrolled re-entry that is likely to be repeated with additional launches next year.

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    "Everything you need to know about China’s Tiangong space station — and how you can see it"

    https://thenextweb.com/news/everythi...it-syndication

    China’s space program is making impressive progress. The country only launched its first crewed flight in 2003, more than 40 years after the Soviet Union’s Yuri Gagarin became the first human in space. China’s first Mars mission was in 2020, half a century after the US Mariner 9 probe flew past the red planet.

    But the rising Asian superpower is catching up fast: flying missions to the Moon and Mars; launching heavy-lift rockets; building a new space telescope set to fly in 2024; and, most recently, putting the first piece of the Tiangong space station (the name means Heavenly Palace) into orbit.
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    China’s space program is making impressive progress. The country only launched its first crewed flight in 2003, more than 40 years after the Soviet Union’s Yuri Gagarin became the first human in space. China’s first Mars mission was in 2020, half a century after the US Mariner 9 probe flew past the red planet.

    But the rising Asian superpower is catching up fast: flying missions to the Moon and Mars; launching heavy-lift rockets; building a new space telescope set to fly in 2024; and, most recently, putting the first piece of the Tiangong space station (the name means Heavenly Palace) into orbit.
    What heavy lift rocket are they talking about? The LM-5B can lift 25000kg compared to the Atlas V 20520kg, Falcon 9 22500(in expendable mode), and Vulcan 27200kg, and all of those are taken to be medium and as far as I know the LM-5 has the largest lift capacity of any operational Chinese rocket. I suppose we should be grateful for that, imagine SLS/Saturn class cores tumbling uncontrollably to Earth...

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